Armed police have arrested one of Europeís most wanted terrorists in Edinburgh, more than ten years after he went on the run.
Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez, 36, who is alleged to be a high-profile member of the Basque separatist group Eta, was held in an armed raid late on Friday night in Leith following a joint operation between Lothian and Borders Police and Spainís Civil Guard.
He has been on Spainís most-wanted list since 2008 and had been living in a rented property in Edinburgh with his family for 'some time', Spainís Interior Ministry said.
Ordonez will appear in Edinburgh Sheriff Court tomorrow (Monday July 16) in connection with extradition proceedings.
According to a statement from Spainís Interior Ministry, he is alleged to have joined Eta 16 years ago and has been involved in smuggling people and weapons between France and Spain.
The arrest comes at a time when Britainís intelligence agencies are staging the largest-ever peacetime security operation for the Olympic Games.
Sloan Street in Leith, where Ordonez, alleged to be part of Basque separatist group Eta, was arrested during a raid on Friday night
Younger days: Ordonez is suspected of belonging a group in charge of moving material and people between Spain and France
The statement from Spainís Interior Ministry on Ordonez said: 'Everything suggests he was part of Etaís "reserve apparatus", groups formed by fugitives who are prepared to form active cells when the terror leadership decides.'
It said he joined Eta in 1996 as a member of its transport command, with the aim of helping Eta members and materials cross the border between France and Spain.
When this group was dismantled in 2001 by a counter-terrorist operation, he managed to flee and escape to France.
According to the statement, he joined 'clandestine Eta terrorist structures' in the country.
His fingerprints have been found in several seizures of terrorist material there. This led to a sentence of five years being handed out by a court in Paris in 2008 in absentia.
Last night (Saturday July 14), a spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: 'A 36-year-old male has been arrested in Edinburgh on two European arrest warrants in connection with historical crimes committed in Spain and France.
'He will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday under the terms of the Extradition Act 2003.'
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